<<work, service>>

As humans, we receive a sense of fulfilment through the security of loving relationships and the significance of meaningful activity. God had fellowship with Adam and Eve and gave them the important work to tend and care for the Garden of Eden, even in its sin-free state (Gen 2:15).  Thus, from the beginning meaningful work was God’s purpose for humanity.  After man sinned God declared the work involved to get a living would be harder as the ground wouldn’t be as productive and thorns would compete for space (Gen 3:18,19).  Therefore, work changed from a blessing and joy to often being a tiresome burden of toil.

Our daily work serves as one of God’s major tools for cultivating and nurturing the life of Christ within us, developing skills, teaching dependency on Him for ability and strength to perform through breaking our hard, exterior nature so His glorious light can shine forth.

As we work, God is also at work

God wants to work in us while He works through us. We may be eager to work directly in changing the lives of others but God wants first to change us through the secular work He has entrusted to us. Although we may desire to be doing something that seemingly is more eternally beneficial we must be in submission to the Lord, applying ourselves to the task at hand, until He sees fit to move us on.

We all should be full-time workers for the Kingdom, sharing Christ and living for Him regardless of our occupation. In fact, many employed in ‘non-spiritual’ jobs touch more people for Christ than those engaged in the Christian context. There are also many opportunities for more overt Christian activity outside our normal work time, be it youth work, rest home, prison or hospital visiting, and all Christians

Don't just pray 'use me Lord', but 'make me useable'

should be involved in the affairs of their church to some degree. Much of the ministry of the church can be done by volunteers, who work in their secular employment yet have the passion and dedication to devote some of their ‘spare’ time to the organized, combined outreach or strengthening of the work of God in their locality. Remember, God will reward each one for their labours for His Kingdom (Jer 17:25).

Paul set an example of what is known as ‘tent making’ – whereby he supported himself yet was actively involved in spiritual ministry because he worked day and night (Act 18:3; 1 Thes 2:9).

God is to be the Lord of all our life and activity. All of it is sacred, as we are set apart for His service and everything we do should be continually offered up to Him as we do it unto Him and not to man (Col 1:10, 3:22-24). This attitude will keep us from being disheartened and fruitless.

Both employers and employees have rights and responsibilities, yet rather than considering they are being taken advantage of both parties should put the emphasis on fulfilling their responsibilities, and doing as they would like if the roles were reversed (Lk 6:31).

Employers are not to be inconsiderate to their workers, oppress them, or withhold their pay, for they are worthy of their hire and have entered into some sort of contract or deal, advantageous to both parties (Lk 10:7; Eph 6:9; Col 4:1; Jas 5:4).  If you find your work situation oppressive or unjust make it a matter of prayer and seek advice about how to handle the matter. Jesus said, “Come unto me all who labour and are burdened down and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28).

Employees are to work conscientiously’ “as if you are serving the Lord, not men” (Eph 6:5-8; Tit 2:9). Workers are to promptly obey their employers – the only time they are not to do so is when instructed to do what is clearly forbidden in Scripture (Col 3:2). This is when we are to "Obey God rather than man" (Act 5:29). Human employers should thank and commend valuable workers as God does, who says to those who have faithfully carried out His directives, "Well done good and faithful servant" (Mt 25:21).

Jesus laboured while on earth doing the Father’s work assigned to Him and was able to declare, “I have completed it” (Jn 4:34, 5:36, 17:4).

Although idleness is to be discouraged, as it can lead on to bad habits, work is not to be an end in itself (Lk 12:16-21; 2 Thes 3:6,10; 1 Tim 5:13). The monetary income from paid work is to provide for our needs and those we are responsible for, and to contribute to society in general for those who don’t have sufficient of this world’s goods and the furtherance of God's Kingdom (1 Tim 5:8).   For those unemployed have you considered up-skilling or volunteering in some community-focused organizations.

The situations that arise in our daily lives will present us with a choice of life or death to the self-life. It is only as we keep dying to the old life that Christ’s life can increase in us and we become living examples of Christ to our work associates. They might not read a Bible but they do read us – do they find a good book? The Bible’s message to us is, “Let

Employment is a major construction site of human character

your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and praise your Father in heaven” (Mt 5:16). This should include sound work habits and ethics shown by faithful, conscientious, consistent, helpful and courteous service always endeavouring to improve your workmanship.

“Work, doing something useful with your own hands, that you may have something to share with those in need” (Eph 4:28). “Do it by His power that works in us” (Eph 3:20; Phil 2:13; Col 1:29).

Character qualities, self-esteem and ability will continually increase as we creatively apply ourselves to our work situation.  Self-esteem for males is closely linked to meaningful accomplishment. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Eccl 9:10).

See also: busy, character, contract, diligent, ethics, good works, integrity, job (work), responsible/responsibilities, rights, tent making, work.